According to a recent report from NOLA.com, the half-brother of Cash Money Records CEOs Bryan “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams, who has spent more than two decades behind bars on a life sentence, was released from prison earlier this month with no legal explanation.
Terrence “Gangsta” Williams, a member of the Hot Boys gang, allegedly gave up some of the seed money for the CMB label from dealing heroin and planning hits in the 90s until busted by FBI wiretaps. Court records show that Williams was plotting to kill a group of New York dealers and steal the heroin which was getting shipped to them through the mail, but the feds intercepted the package and foiled the murder plot. Williams ultimately pleaded guilty to engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and solicitation for murder and was sentenced to life plus 20 years.
On January 3, U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle re-sentenced Williams to 27.5 years. Federal law requires judges to “state in open court the reasons for the imposition of a particular sentence,” but judges will get rid of a defendant’s cooperation info and its benefits by sealing records, hearings, and transcripts.
“Defendants want their cooperation secret for their safety; prosecutors want it secret so that defendants are not afraid to cooperate,” U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby wrote in a 2019 article. “Pity the journalist or citizen who seeks to know with certainty what happened at a particular federal sentencing.”
According to court documents, Williams started cooperating with the government after his arrest, but it didn’t immediately help him, in 1999, federal prosecutors filed a “5K motion” to reward him for his “substantial assistance in securing guilty pleas from co-defendants.“ As prosecutors explained, “The defendant also provided information to the state authorities regarding a number of murders and urged persons who had witnessed murders to come forward as witnesses and contact the others.”
Williams possibly could have given some essential info to the government that helped secure his future release. U.S. Sentencing Commission data shows one in six defendants was compensated for cooperation in 2020, about twice the national average.